Russian President Vladmir Putin took part in his annual Q & A. The nearly four hour interview was broadcast on RT, a Russian TV network based in Moscow and Washington. NSA leaker Edward Snowden appeared on the program.
Looking crisp in a dark suit, white button-down and dark red tie, he spoke seriously about the civil war going on in Ukraine and didn’t look like the playboy he usually resembles in those shirtless pictures of him on a horse on The Daily Show. What was startling visually was the physical setup of the TV interview. Putin was positioned like a monkey in the middle with two reporters situated far away from him, as though he were diseased.
Putin says there is a double standard in the way the U.S. behaves and Russia invading Crimea. “They are allowed to act as they did, but Russia is not allowed to protect our interests,” he said. “…We don’t want to spoil our relations with Europe and we hope they feel the same. …As for our relations with Europe and the West, it’s a key issue of trust both on the interpersonal level and intergovernmental level.”
At 2:59, Snowden appears by video from the “video lineup center.” They call it a sensational outrageous message from someone who “revolutionized the world by leaking the information about American Secret services.”
With that, Snowden gets the floor.
“Recently the United States, two independent White House investigations as well as a federal court all concluded that these programs are ineffective in stopping terrorism. They also found that they unreasonable intrude into the private lives of ordinary citizens, individuals who have never been suspected of any wrongdoing or criminal activity. …I’ve seen little public discussion of Russians own involved in mass surveillance. …Does Russia store or analyze in any way the communications of millions of individuals?”
Putin replied, “Mr. Snowden, you are a former agent, a spy. I used to be working for an intelligence service. We are going to talk one professional language. First of all, our intelligence efforts are strictly regulated by our law. … You have to get a court permission to stalk a particular person. We don’t have a mass system of such interception and according with our law, it cannot exist. Of course we know that criminals and terrorists use technology for their criminal acts and of course special services have to use technical means to respond to their crimes including those of terrorist nature. But we don’t have a mass scale uncontrollable like that. We don’t have as much money as they do in the states. Our special services thanks God are strictly controlled by the society and the law and regulated by the way.”
There you have it. Now we’ve seen it all: Snowden turned journalist.
<iframe src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/3PyEspLz8UQ” height=”343″ width=”610″ frameborder=”0″></iframe>
Watch the full interview here.